GNOCCHI WITH CRISPY SAGE AND PROSCIUTTO INSPIRED BY GINO D'ACAMPO
Gnocchi is one of those things that you assume must be very difficult to make, but really it’s a cinch to make when you know what you are doing. Gnocchi should be light and delicate and almost fluffy. Gnocchi should not be dense and rubbery like a piece of old shoe…although with a delicious sauce there are worse things you could eat. And practice makes perfect, that’s the fun thing about cooking.
I’ve tried making these with mashed potato I cooked and mashed the day before and then added the flour and egg the next day and they worked really well - so that’s another layer of stress taken out of the process.
I absolutely love the combination of the salty prosciutto with the crispy sage and lots and lots of shaved parmesan but really gnocchi is basically excellent with anything. Utterly heaven with a simple tomato sauce, amazing with pesto and also v v good with a simple white sauce and lots of cheese.
There are options when it comes to cooking the potatoes, you can bake the potatoes or you can boil them. Today we will boil them.
6 large potatoes, skin on ( about 2kg in weight) - I like russets or Maris piper
300g of flour, plain or 00 (you may need a little more flour)
Fill a large pan with cold water, add salt and the potatoes which you have chopped in half - still with their skin on.
Bring to the boil and cook until the potatoes are cooked through. This should take about 40 - 45 mins.
When ready, don’t drain the water, just remove the potatoes with a slotted spoon and take their skins off. Easier said than done because they will be hot hot but just do what you can.
Push them through a potato ricer or if you dont have one just mash them with a fork on a chopping board. They don’t to be completely smooth you just want a lightly mashed consistency with no lumps.
Now leave for 10 mins or so because the next step is to add the egg and you dont want it to get scrambled with the heat of the potatoes.
Sprinkle 300g of flour on the work top and then tip the potatoes onto it, season well, and then make a well in the centre and add the eggs. Gradually work it together to make a soft dough. Don’t over work it.
If it’s too sticky you can add a bit more flour - it should be moist (sorry) but not sticky.
Now cut into 8 pieces. And then roll each piece into a long sausage shape about 2cm thick.
Then cut the sausages into 3cm pieces to make your gnocchi!
To get the authentic gnocchi shape you want to press the pieces against a fork so they get the marks from the tines and roll into a slight c shape. This takes practice and you want to be gentle but I recommend watching a youtube video and just seeing how it’s done and you will crack it.
Reheat the potato cooking water, or use fresh salted water and cook in batches for just a few minutes. You know they are done when they float to the top. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon and add straight to a plate or bowl with the sauce and ingredients you want to serve the gnocchi with.
Or for this dish with the crispy fried sage leaves, lots of parmesan and prosciutto - I like to fry the gnocchi in a little butter to get them nice and crispy. You still boil them in the same way, but then fry them for a minute or so afterwards to get the outsides lovely and crispy.
To make the crispy sage leaves:
Simply heat a little oil in a pan and then fry the leaves. I go 4 or 5 at a time and they literally take a matter of seconds.
Burn one and you will taste how bitter it tastes - that’s not what we are after.
Remove from the pan and blot on kitchen paper and then sprinkle with Maldon sea salt.
These are such a lovely little garnish and great on top of pasta, risotto, canapés, roast pork…you name it, pretty much.